Jeb Dunnuck’s The Rhone Report La Pèira & Languedoc-Roussillon Reviews: 2008-2009-2010 Vintages


Last week  Jérémie Depierre (above) made the rather ambitious tour of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco (over five or so days with as many flights) as part of the annual European Cellars national portfolio tasting.
 This was brilliantly attended, with more than 500 tasters turning up in Boston alone.

This week it’s back to work in the vineyard with the planting of .4 HA (nearly an Acre) of Syrah – and all else.

And last night the March 2012 issue of The Rhone Report came out.

This issue focuses on the Languedoc-Roussillon, Southern France, the 2007 vintage in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Northern Rhône, and Spain. As such the La Pèira 2008, 2009, and 2010 vintages were looked at.

The Rhone Report’s look at our 2007 vintage is here: La Pèira and Gauby’s Muntada top the Languedoc-Roussillion (May 2011).

 The Rhone Report: La Pèira notes


At the top end, the selection is much smaller, but the quality is on par with the top wines in the world. Both Château de la Négly and La Pèira produce singular, spectacular wines (while not reviewed here, I’d be remiss not include Domaine Gauby’s La Muntada in this list)”



One of the top estates in the Languedoc, and certainly in the crème de la crème of estates in the south of France, La Pèira en Damaisèla is owned by the well-known UK composer Robert Dougan, with the winemaking team consisting of Jérémie Depierre, with Claude Gros consulting. Producing full-bodied, powerful, and exceedingly rich wines, this estate is set apart by their ability to produce wines that not only show thrilling levels of fruit and texture, but also manage to hold onto a sense of purity, elegance, and balance. While ’08 is rock solid here, the ’09s are every bit as good as the ’07s, and the 2010s look to be even better! Website: Importer: Eric Solomon Selections – European Cellars

2010 La Pèira Terrasses du Larzac  $NA

Tasted as a final blend, the 2010 La Pèira Coteaux du Languedoc Les Terrasses du Larzac is set to be bottled in June of 2012. The same blend and elevage as the ‟09 (60/40 Syrah and Grenache aged in 60% new French oak), it has a more classic, structured, and mineral-driven profile with utterly captivating aromatics of crème de cassis and pit styled fruits that are intermixed with notions of roasted herbs, chocolate, crushed stone, and candied flowers that literally soar from the glass. Deep, layered, and yet still incredibly light and elegant on the palate, with spectacular purity of fruit, loads of richness, and fantastic freshness, this full-bodied beauty might just eclipse both the ‘07 and ‘09. Opening up with air (as with the other cuvees, I followed this bottle for multiple days) and showing more structure, this will most likely require 3-5 years of bottle age, and have upwards of two decades of longevity. (97-100 pts.)

2010 Las Flors de la Pèira Terrasses du Larzac $NA

As with the other 2010s from this estate, the 2010 La Pèira Coteaux du Languedoc Les Terrasses du Larzac Las Flors, tasted as a barrel sample, shows a deeper, richer, and more black fruit driven profile than its ‘09 counterpart. A blend of 55% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and 5% Cinsault aged in 25% new barrels, it possesses an inky color to go with sweet, perfumed notes of black cherry, pepper, sappy garrigue, black licorice, and mineral characteristics on the nose. Full-bodied and rich on the palate, with surprising elegance and silkiness to the texture, this improves with air, and while it will be approachable on release, it should have no issues evolving gracefully for upwards of a decade or longer. (93-96 pts.)

2010 Obriers de La Pèira  Terrasses du Larzac  $NA

Tasted as a final blend, the not yet bottled 2010 Obriers de La Pèira is even more impressive than the ‟09. A blend of 65% Cinsault and 35% Carignan that’s aged all in wooded vats and older barrels, it yields a beautiful array of savory, mineral-laced aromas of black cherry, plum pit, wild herbs, lavender, and toasted walnut shell that carry into a medium to full-bodied Languedoc that has brilliant purity of fruit, a deep, layered mid-palate, and a building, lengthy finish that keeps you coming back for another sip. Even better on the second day, this elegantly styled, complex red should drink beautifully on release, yet age gracefully for 5-8 years. (91-93 pts.)

2009 La Pèira Terrasses du Larzac $120

More perfumed, floral, and sexy than the slightly brooding ‟08, the 2009 La Pèira Terrasses du Larzac – a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache that‟s aged in 60% new French oak – boasts knockout aromas of sweet crème de cassis, raspberry ganache, crushed flowers, licorice, graphite, and sappy garrigue that flow to a full-bodied, perfectly balanced, and surprisingly elegant palate. Despite the overall size here, it’s far from over the top and possesses a deep, yet semi-opaque color to go with a creamy, energetic texture, beautiful purity of fruit, and polished tannin that emerges on the mid-palate and carries through the finish, framing the sweet fruit beautifully. Benefiting from a substantial decant, this is thrilling stuff that should have a long drink window (I followed this bottle for 4 days and it was never short of stunning); I would give bottles 2-3 years in the cellar, and then plan on drinking over the following two decades. (98 pts.) 

2009 Las Flors de la Pèira Terrasses du Larzac  $50

The 2009 Las Flors de la Pèira Terrasses du Larzac, a blend of 55% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and 5% Cinsault, is stylistically closer to the grand vin than to the Les Obriers de La Pèira; it is certainly the  best vintage of this cuvee I’ve tasted to date.   Aged in 5% new barrels, it delivers a decidedly sexy, polished profile with creamy raspberry, currant, graphite, and floral aromas that flow to a full-bodied, plush, seamless Languedoc that is incredibly polished and rich.  Possessing no hard edges and a voluptuous profile, it fleshes out beautifully with air, and while it lacks the overall intensity of its big brother, there’s no denying the  similarities and this stands on its own as great wine. Given the overall purity and balance, this is delicious now, yet should have upwards of a decade or more of longevity.  (95 pts.)

2009 Obriers de La Pèira Terrasses du Larzac $20 

A blend of 65% Cinsault and 35% Carignan thats aged all in wooden vats and older barrels, the 2009 La Pèira Terrasses du Larzac Obriers de La Pèira is a supple, delicious red that possesses a savory, earthy profile of damp earth, leafy herbs, lavender, and assorted spices to go with a core of plum and pit fruits. Medium-bodied on the palate, with a seductive, rounded texture and plenty of length, this has loads of character, and should be consumed over the coming 3-5 years. As is common with this cuvee, it needs plenty of air to show at its best, so if drinking anytime soon, don’t be afraid to decant. (89 pts.) 

2008 La Pèira Terrasses du Larzac  $120

A step up, with slightly more intensity, precision, and detail than the Las Flors (which is stunning in its own right), the 2008 La Pèira Terrasses du Larzac is a blend of roughly 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache that’s aged in close to 60% new barrels. Layered, dense, and deeply fruited, yet with a surprisingly elegant, polished profile, this thrilling ‘08 boasts classic aromas of mineral-drenched black fruits, dark chocolate, charred rosemary, licorice, and iron that flow seamlessly to a full-bodied, perfectly balanced Languedoc. Possessing a full, concentrated mid-palate, stellar freshness, and a silky, structured finish, this elegant, yet powerful 2008 is quite possibly the wine of the vintage. It‟s certainly impressive now, yet I suspect it will be even better with 2-4 years of bottle age, and age effortlessly for 10-12 years at a minimum.  (95 pts.)

2008 Las Flors de la Pèira Terrasses du Larzac $50

Almost Bordeaux like in its decadent, yet edgy and dense aromatic profile, the 2008 La Pèira Coteaux du Languedoc Les Terrasses du Larzac Las Flors is the estate‟s second wine (yet the equivalent of just about everyone else’s top wine) and is a blend of close to half Grenache and the balance Syrah, with a touch of Mourvèdre in the blend as well. It exhibits first-rate aromas of smoked black currants, sappy herbs, licorice, roasted meats, and lilac aromas on the nose. Full-bodied on the palate and concentrated, without a hint of over-extraction or heaviness, it possesses a light, yet richly textured mouthfeel, brilliant balance, and a classy, clean finish where the wine‟s class and polish shows. While deeply fruited and rich, it stays fresh, elegant, and weightless in the mouth, before turning grippy and structured on the finish. Gorgeous on all fronts, and much more approachable at this point than the grand vin, this impeccably put together beauty should be given 1-2 years of bottle age, and consumed over the following decade. (93 pts.) Issue 11, March 2012 28

Jeb Dunnuck’s  The Rhone Report newsletter (subscription- $5 monthly) is published quarterly and dedicated to the wines of the Rhone and Rhone wines worldwide.